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Maria

Member Since 2007

229
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 28 reviews
  • 38 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
19

  • Tuscan Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Belinda Alexandra
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    Overall
    (275)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (206)

    A mysterious stranger known as 'The Wolf' leaves an infant with the sisters of Santo Spirito. A tiny silver key hidden in her wrappings is the only clue to the child's identity and so begins a story as intriguing and beautiful as the city of Florence itself. Belinda Alexandra's new novel, Tuscan Rose, is set in Italy during the time of Mussolini. This richly woven tale of passion, love, longing, witchcraft and magic promises to be everything her readers love and more.

    Ashley says: "Such a beautiful listen...."
    "Enough with the animal rights!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Caroline Lee as a narrator -- she's one of my faves! I picked this book because I had listened to The Silver Wattle and found it to be an interesting book. Yes, Belinda Alexandra is a talented writer, but I couldn't get past the "in your face" animal rights/vegetarian agenda. Give me a break! I constantly found myself rolling my eyes. It was a prominent theme in The Silver Wattle, but in this story it's just ridiculous. I stopped listening after hearing the line, "I'm seeing the spirits that have been killed to satisfy people's vanity and gluttony... the church taught that animals didn't have souls or personalities, which is why Christians didn't have any qualms about killing them."

    Give me a break. Humans were meant to eat meat -- the reason we have incisor teeth. A few lines here and there or a statement as part of the dialog is one thing. But the book has too much of this crap. I won't be listening to a Belinda Alexandra again. I listen for enjoyment, not to be swayed by a political or social agenda.

    I will, however, be looking for other Caroline Lee narrated novels...

    4 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Jakarta Pandemic

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Steven Konkoly
    • Narrated By Joseph Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (456)
    Performance
    (408)
    Story
    (406)

    In the late fall of 2013, a lethal pandemic virus emerges from the Islamic Republic of Indonesia (IRI) and rages unchecked across every continent. When the Jakarta Flu threatens his picture-perfect Maine neighborhood, Alex Fletcher, Iraq War veteran, is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. As a seasoned sales representative for Biosphere Pharmaceuticals, makers of a leading flu virus treatment, Alex understands what a deadly pandemic means for all of them.

    Eric says: "Political schizophrenia and engrossing story"
    "Good story... frustrating narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is a compelling one, and is extremely exciting. Anyone who loves "doomer fiction" will love this. Unfortunately, the audio narration is tough. The book is filled with the main character's thoughts. The narrator reads those thoughts low under his breath, at about half the volume of the rest of the narration, almost mumbling. I play my audiobooks on a speaker, not with earbuds. I started off replaying those parts and turning up the volume to hear it, and then turning it back down when the regular narration got loud again. But that got cumbersome and annoying, so I just left it at one volume and basically missed hearing half the book. I don't like the author's style for that reason, nor the narrator's. But the story is one that you have to listen to -- it's that gripping. I just recommend reading it, rather than listening to it, if you have a hard time hearing audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Legend

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jude Deveraux
    • Narrated By C. J. Critt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (49)

    Petite Kady Long, a celebrated chef about to be married to a gorgeous man, felt she was the luckiest woman alive. But when she tried on an antique satin wedding dress, she was overcome with dizziness. When she opened her eyes, Kady was in the harsh, sunlit landscape of 1873 Legend, Colorado. There, she meets Cole Jordan, a tall, rangy, and very appealing man.

    CAROLYN says: "CAGA-UK"
    "It was okay."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have this in hardcover -- I bought it and read it when it first came out. I loved the story just as much as then, but wasn't thrilled with the narrator. I envisioned 30 year old Katie with a younger, perkier, more innocent sounding voice. While C.J. Critt does a great job, her voice just sounds far too old and too refined, like some glamorous movie star from the 40s or something. It just didn't fit the character. Therefore, I didn't like the audio as much.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Aftermath

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Charles Sheffield
    • Narrated By Gary Dikeos
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (40)

    It’s 2026, and catastrophe has struck from an unexpected source. The Alpha Centauri supernova has risen like a second sun, rushing Earth toward its last summer. Floods, fires, starvation, and disease paralyze the planet. In a blue aurora flash of gamma rays, all microchips worldwide are destroyed, leaving an already devastated Earth without communications, transportation, weaponry, or medicine. The disaster sets three groups of survivors on separate quests. A militant cult seizes the opportunity to free their leader, known as the Eye of God, from the long-term coma to which a court sentenced her.

    G. House Sr. says: "Give it a read, it's worth the credit"
    "Pretty dull, with weird narration..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise is super exciting -- Alpha Centauri goes super nova and creates an EMP, blowing up and leaving the earth in darkness as a result. The result? Dull, dull, dull. Not only is the storyline agonizing slow with very little action, but the narrator made it even worse. He reads the narration just fine, but whenever he gets to the dialog parts, every character sounds like a weird, disconnected robot (especially the women). And the accents were atrocious. I tried... really, I forced myself to make it past the half-way point, but I realized I'm just wasting precious time that I could be listening to something else. It's a shame. It's such an awesome premise, which is why I'm giving the story two stars instead of one. Maybe someone else will like it better.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • True Love and Other Disasters

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Rachel Gibson
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (506)
    Performance
    (339)
    Story
    (339)

    Best-selling author Rachel Gibson is acclaimed for her quick-witted and endearing romances. True Love and Other Disasters begins as the Seattle Chinooks hockey team owner dies, bequeathing the team to his young widow, Faith. Faith is determined to be taken seriously as the owner, and she’s not going to let anyone—especially dreamy star player Ty Savage—get in her way.

    S says: "More Rachel Gibson, please!"
    "This was a fun story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this! It was a fun story. Faith, a good-hearted former stripper inherits a hockey team from her late rich husband. Ty Savage, the team captain, isn't happy about it. The friction, tension and attraction between the two eventually leads to true love. This was an easy listen, and the humor and character profiles were great. I don't know why, but I could not stop picturing Cameron Diaz and Channing Tatum in these roles, which made it even that much more fun. It would make a great movie someday... (grin).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Knight in Shining Armor

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Jude Deveraux
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (299)
    Performance
    (265)
    Story
    (264)

    Once upon a time...as a fair maiden lay weeping upon a cold tombstone, her heartfelt desire was suddenly made real before her: Tall, broad of shoulder, attired in gleaming silver and gold, her knight in shining armor had come to rescue his damsel in distress.... Hailed worldwide as one of the most romantic novels of all time, Jude Deveraux's dazzling best seller "will capture your heart - and hold it" (Daily Herald, Chicago) with its breathtaking tale.

    JeriG says: "Well worth the wait!"
    "This is such an awesome story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For fans of Jude Deveraux, this is a classic. It's one of the best time travel/romances out there. I read this many years ago, and was delighted to see it in audio. I just wasn't all that fond of the male narrator. He did a pretty good job, but there's just something about a male narrator trying to pull off a crying woman's voice that just makes it sound... well, whiny and cheesy.

    But despite that, I listened to the story practically straight through. I had forgotten the awesome ending! I just loved it. Entertaining and endearing.

    Now, hopefully Remembrance (my favorite Deveraux's time-travel romance novel) will come out in unabridged audio. I'd hope for that story, the publisher will chose a woman to narrate. It just makes it that much more believable. Justine Eyre would be great for that story!

    I'll continue to wait for more vintage Deveraux...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ask for It

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Sylvia Day
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (508)
    Performance
    (471)
    Story
    (471)

    Nothing incites Marcus more than the primal hunger roused by his former fiancée, Elizabeth. It’s been years since she jilted him for another man, but that only means there’s a lot to catch up on, a lot to make up for, and that he’s going to enjoy every sweet moment.… The same drive and passion that sent her into another man’s arms is what brings Elizabeth back to Marcus. Her attraction to him is the one thing she fears, but she’s run out of options. Resisting is impossible. But does she have the courage to surrender everything?

    CAROLYN says: "FIVE STARS - THREE WORDS PERFECT DELICIOUS HOT"
    "Loved it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I actually loved this book! It's my first Sylvia Day -- I wanted to avoid the whole "50 Shades" cliche and similar writers. But this was actually really good! I'm a huge fan of Justine Eyre, and think that she was magnificent as always. For listeners who don't typically purchase historical fiction based in England and who are used to more modern US-based characters, I could see how her voice would be a distraction. But I've listened to many titles that she's narrated, and she's one of the best out there. I chose this book because Justine was narrating. The performance and story did not disappoint!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Syrie James
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (18)

    Samantha McDonough cannot believe her eyes - or her luck. Tucked in an uncut page of a 200-year-old poetry book is a letter she believes was written by Jane Austen, mentioning with regret a manuscript that "went missing at Greenbriar in Devonshire". Could there really be an undiscovered Jane Austen novel waiting to be found? Could anyone resist the temptation to go looking for it?

    Maria says: "My favorite book in a long, long time!"
    "My favorite book in a long, long time!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I absolutely LOVED this book! Both storylines were captivating, and Justine Eyre did a magnificent job, as always. I almost listened to it all the way straight through (interrupted only by a necessary night's sleep). The ending was satisfying, and I'm recommending it to everyone. SO fun for any Jane Austen fan!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Keeper

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Kate Morton
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2503)
    Performance
    (2136)
    Story
    (2146)

    England, 1959: Laurel Nicolson is 16 years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.

    Maria says: "Kate Morton (and Caroline Lee) does it again!"
    "Kate Morton (and Caroline Lee) does it again!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been waiting for this book to come out, as Kate Morton is one of my faves. Although I must admit, even though I was waiting for this release, I refused to buy it in print or e-book format because I wanted Caroline Lee to tell me the story. She's one of my faves, too. I wasn't disappointed. I believe this is the best Kate Morton novel to date. I was enthralled every bit of the way through, listening with such fervor with the hopes that each mystery would be revealed. The ending was superb and caught me totally by surprise. I loved it!

    The toughest part about this book is that it had to end. This beautiful and haunting story of romance, family secrets, war-time mysteries, genealogy, old trunks and houses and ephemera that tells snippets of a story that had unraveled in secrecy was so satisfying that I had to hop on right away to give my review. I love that this tale is over 19 hours long -- it made me really feel as if I was getting my credit's worth. Yet listening to Lee's easy and engaging reading style didn't make it a burden at all. Easily one of my best purchases of the year (and I purchase a lot). I definitely recommend!

    The only caveat I would give to someone new to Kate Morton is to stick with it. The beginning can be a bit slow, and a few parts in between are a little draggy. There was so much cigarette smoking that I almost gave in and bought a pack myself to cave into the subliminal peer pressure (after many years of having quit). But it's worth it. Stay with it, and you won't be disappointed!

    82 of 82 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Bridge

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Terry Smith
    • Narrated By Michael A. Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Most of the human race believes in a life beyond the here-and-now. Religious writings have put such beliefs into words - often esoteric, mysterious words - for thousands of years. Among such writings are those which form the Christian Bible: the 66 books commonly called the Old and New Testaments. Strangely, the Bible doesn't say much about what the life which lies beyond is like - that is, how it is actually lived.

    Maria says: "Took an odd turn..."
    "Took an odd turn..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really, really wanted to love this book. It started out completely captivating. What could be more exciting than finding a seemingly divine secret passageway behind an old painting in an inner city Chigaoan church? I was hooked! But then the story got strange and took on a sort of Alice in Wonderland theme. I gave up listening when the giant talking bird that sounded like the dog from the Taco Bell commercial had everyone climb on his back for a ride. I'm sure it had a nice ending, but I just couldn't finish it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Francis Chan
    • Narrated By Francis Chan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (611)
    Performance
    (352)
    Story
    (358)

    "When people gladly sacrifice their time or comfort or home, it is obvious that they trust in the promises of God. Why is it that the story of someone who has actually done what Jesus commands resonates deeply with us, but we then assume we could never do anything so radical or intense? Or why do we call it radical when, to Jesus, it is simply the way it is? The way it should be?"

    JustDeb says: "Life Changing"
    "Loved the book! But Chan is no narrator..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So I bought this book as a recommendation from a friend. Prior to this, I didn't know who Francis Chan was. I absolutely loved this book -- it changed my life, and challenged me/pushed me in a way that I desperately needed. In fact, I loved it so much that I'm listening to it again. This book also prompted me to go online and look up sermons and videos by Pastor Chan.

    Wow, though. The reading? That was tough. I really wish he would've used a professional narrator. Before I knew who he was (when I first began listening to it), I thought, "This guy sounds like a serious, quiet, introverted high school student who had to get up and read a report in front of a class." But then I saw the videos of Pastor Chan's sermons, and he was like an entirely different person! He was dynamic and animated and exuberant in his speech. Maybe he's just not that great of a reader, or maybe he was off of his game. I don't know. I can understand now how his devoted followers would've wanted him doing the reading, but I felt it took away from the impact of the book. And it made it tough to get through, even though the message was extremely compelling.

    I hope the books keep coming! I will buy them. I do hope, though, that he either hires a reading coach or allows the publisher to choose an appropriate narrator.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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